Recognizing a critical need to improve national vaccination rates for human papillomavirus, or HPV, the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute has united with all 69 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers in issuing a joint statement in support of recently revised recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We emphatically agree with the joint statement," said Brian Druker, M.D., director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.
Incidence rates of HPV-associated cancers continue to rise, with approximately 39,000 new HPV-associated cancers now diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the CDC. Although HPV vaccines can prevent the majority of cervical, anal, oropharyngeal (middle throat) and other genital cancers, U.S. vaccination rates remain low, with just under 42 percent of girls and a little over 28 percent of boys completing the recommend vaccine series.
The new guidelines from the CDC recommend children aged 11 to 12 should receive two doses of the HPV vaccine at least six months apart. Adolescents and young adults older than 15 should continue to complete the three-dose series.
“No woman in the U.S. should die from cervical cancer,” said Michelle Berlin, M.D., M.P.H., co-director of the OHSU Center for Women’s Health. “This joint statement should serve as a rallying cry for this important preventive treatment. And now that we know that being immunized against HPV can protect men and women from so many other conditions, its even more important to immunize children and adolescents before they may be exposed to HPV.”
Research shows there are a number of barriers to improved vaccination rates, including the lack of strong recommendations from physicians and parents who don't recognize that the vaccine protects against several types of cancer. In an effort to overcome these hurdles, NCI-designated cancer centers have organized a continuing series of national summits to share new research, discuss best practices and identify collective action toward improving vaccination rates.
The original joint statement, published in January 2016, was the major recommendation from a summit hosted last November, which brought together experts from the NCI, CDC, and American Cancer Society.
“We have been inspired by the White House Cancer Moonshot to work together in eliminating cancer,” said Electra Paskett, Ph.D., associate director for population sciences at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute Cancer Control Research Program. “Improving HPV vaccination is an example of an evidence-based prevention strategy we can implement today to save thousands of lives in the future.”
Read more about the HPV vaccine on the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s science blog, Cancer Translated.